When I originally began this blog the purpose was to highlight Allan Blank’s compositions, share musical observations and impart a bit of archival knowledge. Hopefully Readers, I’m hitting these goals on the mark! In an effort to keep you apprised, I have a few updates on the processing of the collection.
Back in February I had mentioned that the collection was comprised of 27 boxes, boy was I wrong! The collection actually has over 40 boxes (I’m not specifying the exact amount because the number of boxes is changing as I process). Why the gaping discrepancy? Well, the boxes have been moved around to make room for newly acquired accessions (Archives unfortunately don’t have unlimited space, anyone out there want to donate a new building?), half the collection is housed in a separate building (again, some kind soul want to donate a building?) and over the years different people have worked on the collection (maybe I’m the last…maybe). In an effort to keep this from happening again in the future, I’m transferring the papers into new boxes with a new numbering system. Going along with the transfer is a detailed plan for how I see the final collection organized.
Moving along. My current activities include dismantling notebooks, grouping scores together (sadly, scores such as Seven Silhouettes for Flute and Bassoon are scattered across several boxes) and adding preservation measures where I can. Working on moving boxes, the creation of folders and figuring out how the organize the series has been my main focus.
Surprises in the collection have been the discovery of the page from Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in B minor for organ, numerous works written in German and snippets of the composer’s daily life. These bits of Dr. Blank’s life emerge from sketches written on the backs of old resumes, a program from Margot Blank’s exhibitions (check out her beautiful art at the Virginia Holocaust Museum!) and letters written to him.
My end goal for the collection of papers is ease of use, preservation and honoring the memory of Allan Blank. Yet, I do have my worries and regrets. I truly wish I could have met Dr. Blank so I would know that my efforts would please him and because he seems like an individual who led an incredible life. Finally, my one regret is that I still haven’t found a work for the Sarrusophone…